Although there are many enjoyable parts to being at uni, it can be stressful. In chemistry especially, the course is relatively intense and requires a significant amount of study outside of lectures. Unfortunately, in order to excel a surface understanding of chemistry is not enough; you need to be able to apply your knowledge to tackle problems you may never have seen before.
Keeping on top of work is therefore extremely important.
Many individuals suffer with mental health issues, and with suicide being the single largest killer of men, it’s time to start talking. Sometimes life can just get on top of us all, and all it can take is one bad mark, or one bad day to feel like your entire world is collapsing.
When I was doing my A levels, I definitely did not handle stress well. I was absolutely petrified of failing, so much so that I chained myself to my desk for hours a day and hardly slept/ate, making myself both physically and mentally ill. In the end, I didn’t even get into medicine and I definitely did not perform my best.
But a few years on and I’m older and maybe a tad wiser (well I now know you have to add washing detergent into the washing machine, and that the machine doesn’t automatically contain it)
I still get stressed like everyone, but I’ve got better at managing it.
So I have some tips which I find help me to manage my stress a lot more effectively than I did before:
1. Eat sensibly- eating rubbish makes you feel rubbish, and eating nothing will just make you exhausted.
2. Take regular breaks- your brain can’t function constantly for 12 hours, you need a break. It will stop you procrastinating and also will give you a chance to recover before you plunge yourself into more revision.
3. Revise with a friend from the course – this definitely helped me. My friend was a constant source of reassurance telling me I could do it, and helped me to work through problems I found difficult.
4. Get some sleep- if you don’t sleep you’ll be less productive the next day.
5. Exercise- again a massive factor in how I manage my stress. I go to the gym every day as it works for me, and helps me keep focused (as well as fit)
6. Talk to someone- I have to admit I am appalling at this, as are many of us. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends as you feel like they may not empathise, make an appointment at the Student wellbeing service, who are always happy to help. They can be found in the Ed unit, Percy Gee building, with drop in sessions between 11am-1pm.
7. Make achievable goals. Don’t make goals like “finish an entire module in one night” as it’s not going to happen, make smaller goals as otherwise you’ll feel like you have failed; when in fact you haven’t.
I hope some of these tips help, but if there’s anything to take away from this it’s the importance of talking to someone. Bottling up feelings isn’t going to solve anything, and there’s often a simple solution to a problem that can seem incredibly complex in your mind.